Jackie Robinson was born on 31 January 1919 in Cairo, Georgia, USA. Jackie's mother named Mallie Robinson tried and raised Jackie and his four siblings alone. The Whites predominately occupied Jackie's neighborhood, making the Robinsons the lone black family in their area. As a result, they encountered prejudice in their everyday life, but this aspect made their bond grow stronger as opposed to limiting their potential. From such a simple and humble beginning was a star in the making that would conquer all the set barriers against the Blacks in the society.
Jackie's family was quite big and the daily difficulties that they were facing made Jackie concentrate more on sports, which he excelled despite the odds. In addition to that, Jackie was taught how to make his way in life and attain all that he wanted to achieve. After joining the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Jackie made the history of being the first athlete to show excellence in different sports. Some of the sports that he showed his prowess include baseball, track, basketball, as well as football. Later on, in 1941, he joined the prestigious All-American football team to exploit his abilities Tygiel (6) further. However, this was short-lived, as he had to drop out due to lack of finances to facilitate his sports endeavors.
In 1945, Jackie found his way, played for the Negro Baseball League, and later on, in 1947 saw him join the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1946, Jackie met the love of his life, a nursing student named Rachel Isum whom he had interacted with at UCLA. Together they had three children namely Jackie Jr., Sharon, and David.
Jackie's accomplishments and how he changed the world
Jackie has been termed as being a legend based on the manner in which he broke the color barrier in his lifetime. Notably was the fact that he became the first black athlete to be accommodated in some of the most prominent sports clubs such as the Major League Baseball. According to Robinson and Jules (19), Jackie's life can be stated to be a series of success after success.
As a role model, Jackie was able to attain numerous awards from different platforms in his life (Rampersad 29). Notably was the honor he received in 1972 when he was given a chance to throw the first pitch during the famous World Series. Shortly after, Jackie went ahead and won the prestigious NCAACP award. As if this was not enough, he received different honorary degrees from various institutions of higher learning in the US. Among these universities include Howard University, University of Maryland, Pace University, Franklin Pierce College, and Sacred Heart University.
Other awards that Jackie attained include leading the International League in which he attained a .349 batting average Tygiel (15). Shortly after, he was selected among other many players to join the National League All-Star Team in six times. Other awards he acquired include attaining the best batting average in 1949, the best career batting average in 1949, and the best career on-base percentage in 1952. In addition to that, he came second in the famous RBI's in 1949. With all the above awards, it is notable that Jackie was a talented man who was able to attain all he could do in all fields.
Apart from the plenty of awards that Jackie got, he was able to realize even more achievements in his lifetime. First is the status of the four-letterman that he achieved during his school years at John Muir Technical High School. Later on in his life, he was acknowledged as California's Most Valuable Junior College Player in 1938 after leading his team members up to finals of the sport. Through his awards and achievements, Jackie went ahead and was instated into the prominent National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. From there he became a leading face in the numerous campaigns organized by NCAACP. In a bid to giving back to the community, Jackie founded the Jackie Robinson Construction Company in 1970. This foundation aimed to promote the well-being of the low-income families and further assist them in building decent places of living. Simon (41) indicates that Jackie was a humble person who was able to stretch out his hands and help the needy in any way possible that he could. It is for this reason that he was noted on numerous occasions opening diverse doors for many African-American individuals, who were unable to cross the racial barriers.
Robinson and Jules (19) postulate that the legacy left behind by Jackie will forever be remembered in the history of the US. This is based on the many aspects of that he was able to accomplish making him a notable and famous person in America. Coming to 1997, the whole world played tribute to a man who was able to break the racial barriers on the Major League Baseball. During the 50th Anniversary of Jackie's remembrance, the world recalled how the black man was able to stand defiantly against the many obstructions that existed in the American culture. Further to that, all the Major League teams all over America renowned Jackie as a true hero and diplomat who deserved respect for his accomplishments.
Other ways in which the American people remember Jackie is through placing his picture on a commemorative stamp. This move was undertaken by the United States Post Office as a sign of respect for a true legend. President Bill Clinton among other important US top leaders paid special tributes to him in a special ceremony converged at Shea Stadium. Many scholars and researchers have agreed that the success attained by Jackie was so much that very few human beings could be able to achieve the same (Rampersad 28). Up to today, Jackie remains a hero and a source of inspiration for not only Americans but across the world. In the same way, many American communities and races have recognized him as a unifying factor who wanted a new America where everyone had the same rights and freedom.
Having been brought up in a poor yet humble family, Jackie Robinson was well acquainted with the struggles of living in a White-dominated neighborhood. In addition to that, having a single mother who was responsible for taking care of him and his other four siblings was a real struggle. Regardless of all the limitations around him, Jackie rose to become a famous player who was able to break many racial barriers. Rising from being the first ever Black American to play in the distinguished Major League Baseball, Jackie spread his wings further and joined the best National League MVP in 1949 setting the standards high for all baseball players in the US.
Rampersad, Arnold. Jackie Robinson: a biography. Ballantine Books, 2011.
Robinson, Jackie, and Jules Tygiel, eds. The Jackie Robinson Reader: Perspectives on an American Hero. EP Dutton, 1997.
Simon, Scott. Jackie Robinson and the integration of baseball. John Wiley & Sons, 2002.
Tygiel, Jules. Extra Bases: Reflections on Jackie Robinson, Race, and Baseball History. U of Nebraska Press, 2002.
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